Risks of Acupuncture
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Acupuncture is actually a very safe alternative medicine with at least 2 millennia of knowledge behind it! However a practitioner that doesn’t have the proper training (or maybe ethics) can definitely turn this perfectly safe, and often helpful practice into a number of problems.
As with any professional treatment, sanitary handling is ultimately important. Especially when sharp objects come in contact with the skin. Hepatitis, HIV, AIDS, infections, among many other nasty things can be spread if the proper care isn’t taken. Whatever practitioner you choose should use sterile, new needles for every client.
Another concern is that they know what and where to stick the needles. Without the proper knowledge and experience, it is quite possible to cause damage that could cause serious problems, up to and including fatality.
Of course all dangers aside, you will also want to be sure the acupuncturist(s) you go to are effective with your conditions, and also take the time to help you better understand what further treatment may prove beneficial. Like any treatment professional, there are those that can really be of help for long term results, and those that simply do quick fixes. Take your time, to find out what to expect, and who would be best to deliver it.
Anyone can simply claim they are acupuncturists, however there are a number of resources you can use to determine if they are in fact certified, qualified, experienced, and able. Take time to be sure before allowing anyone the opportunity to practice on you. You definitely don’t want to be their first.
It appears at this time, that every state in the United States has regulations, and accreditation standards for acupuncture practitioners. The first thing you should do is check credentials, as well as any official actions that have (or haven’t) been taken against them. If it looks like there have been problems with the acupuncturist you are considering, you might want to choose a different provider.
There is plenty of information online to aid you, as well as a number of medical, and consumer protection groups too. Good places to look include the Better Business Bureau, consumer reporting publications, and even personal opinions of other acupuncture clients to some extent. Don’t hesitate to ask a provider to prove they are qualified. Further take time to verify their claims if they aren’t that well known.
Along with seriously considering who’s providing acupuncture; you will probably also want to become somewhat informed on the practice. There are many resources online that will ease your process of finding what you want, and avoiding what you don’t want.
One final resource you may find is your insurance company. Do they cover acupuncture? They may have a specific list of practitioners that they will pay for. This can aid you in finding the most qualified and ethical provider you can find as well as keeping the out of pocket expense even lower.
By Tom Matte